At the entrance to San Francisco City College is “St. Francis of the Guns” by Bufano. Born in Italy, in 1898, Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano taught at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute, (but was dismissed in 1923 because he was considered too modern), the University of California, Berkeley, and Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts so his work is (or should be) well known to natives.
Following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, then Mayor, Joseph Alioto, initiated a voluntary turn-in drive that yielded 2000 handguns. He commissioned Bufano to use the gunmetal in a sculpture. Bufano had it forged in Italy, adding bronze to the gunmetal to keep it from corroding in the city’s foggy weather. A mosaic inlay depicts John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln, all victims of assassination by handguns, above a multi-racial children’s chorus. The sculpture was dedicated by Mayor George Moscone who was himself assassinated by a handgun eighteen months later. Bufano died in 1970.